Marilyn A. Lewis on “‘Christ’s College and the Latitude-Men’ Revisited: A Seminary of Heretics?”

Marjorie Nicolson’s 1929 article, ‘Christ’s College and the Latitude-Men’ characterized the quarrel between Ralph Widdrington and the Cambridge Platonists Henry More and Ralph Cudworth as ‘the enmity of the fundamentalist for the liberal’. Widdrington called More and Cudworth ‘latitude-men’ and described the college as ‘a seminary of Heretics’. This article revisits the dispute by presenting a group biography of the Christ’s College fellowship between 1644 and 1669, showing More as an academic networker attracting students to his version of Platonism and Cudworth in action as a college head managing fellowship elections to build up support against Widdrington. The argument will be advanced that Widdrington’s opposition revealed the reality of a group of Platonic philosophical theologians at Christ’s College, as opposed to their mere reification by later admiring historians, thus challenging the doubts concerning the existence of Cambridge Platonism which have been asserted in recent historiography.

Marilyn A. Lewis, “‘Christ’s College and the Latitude-Men’ Revisited: A Seminary of Heretics?,” Mordechai Feingold, ed., History of Universities Volume XXXIII/1. Oxford University Press, 2020. ISBN: 9780198865421.

$177,000 (CAD) Grant awarded from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have awarded a three-year Insight Grant to Professor Torrance Kirby of McGill University (PI), with Professor Douglas Hedley, Cambridge Divinity Faculty and Director of the Centre for the Study of Platonism and Professor Garth Green, Director of the McGill School of Religious Studies (co-applicants) for research on ‘The Reception of German Mysticism in Early Modern England’. A key structural feature of this international Insight Research Grant is to build upon an already thriving collaboration between scholars in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University and the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University. Professor Kirby was a Visiting Research Fellow at CRASSH (2015) and Professor Hedley was Visiting Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at McGill (2019). The project consists in establishing the fundamental influence of German or Rhenish mysticism on English religious thought, chiefly in the 17th-century. The English reception of such German mystical authors as Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1328), the anonymous author of Theologia Germanica, Johannes Tauler (c. 1300-1361), Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), Sebastian Franck (c. 1499-1542), Hans Denck (1500-1527), Valentin Weigel (1533-1588), and Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), to mention just the most significant representatives of this tradition, has been hitherto little studied, or not studied at all. Continue reading “$177,000 (CAD) Grant awarded from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)”